Republicans are a threat to democracy

Afghans are rapidly losing the freedom they gained during our 20-year presence. This was predictable, but nonetheless a human tragedy affecting millions of people, made worse because it didn’t have to happen.

We trained, equipped and armed them with modern weapons, but when the fighting started, used to us having their backs, they just faded away. They had become too complacent, seeming to believe that our commitment to their security was open-ended. It wasn’t.

Complacency in the world in which we live is dangerous. In the past, we have also been guilty of this and paid the price. Pearl Harbor and the World Trade Center come to mind. Unfortunately, we have again become too complacent, and this time the price just might be our democracy. We seem to believe that democracy is an American birthright. It isn’t. Every generation must do its part to preserve our freedom.

The Republican Party has become toxic to our democracy, a cancer threatening our freedom by putting party and a defeated, deeply flawed ex-president, who attempted a coup against our democratic government, before country. They also push the “big lie,” spread misinformation, try to rewrite the history of the Jan. 6 insurrection and suppress voter turnout.

Republican Sen. Ted Cruz said on the floor of the Senate that Texas should secede from the union, unbelievable conduct for a senator. They even refuse to condemn organizations such as the Proud Boyd and The Oath Keepers, for fear of antagonizing Trump and alienating their base.

Historian and author Joseph P. Ellis tells of an early political pundit who said, “the American government was created by a group of geniuses, so it could be run by a group of idiots.” However, those idiots are busily dismantling the protections and safeguards of our elections, which are the envy of the world.

They are trying to place Trump allies, proponents of the “big lie” into key election posts. Also, state legislators could overrule election boards and even the Electoral College in their states. They are rigging the system.

A recent poll has shown that nearly half of Republicans believe our government should be shaken up in order to save it. Save it from what, democracy? It is obvious that the second coup attempt has begun, this time with much more planning and preparation. Trump even said this isn’t over, it is just starting.

Willie Pack


Make corporations pay taxes

Two recent items ran decrying the excess of the federal government. The first was a recent letter critical of the Build Back Better plan, citing in part high corporate taxes in the U.S. The latter was an editorial that raised the specter of wasteful spending, but stopped far short of identifying the spending that was wasteful, or outlining a solution.

When considering federal spending and debt, one can certainly argue that there is government overreach, or waste in government spending. It is somewhat harder to feign outrage with government overreach when some of the most profitable corporations in the country walk away without contributing anything at all.

The corporate tax rate was 35%, and the 2017 tax cut did lower that top rate to 21%. The problem is that most corporations do not pay the top rate, and many Fortune 500 corporations pay nothing at all. In a Fortune article in 2019, Erik Sherman cites a study of 379 profitable corporations from the Institute on Taxation and Economic Policy, which determines that the average corporate tax rate in the U.S is a modest 11.3%. It also found that of those 379 profitable corporations that 91, including Amazon, Chevron, Halliburton and IBM, paid no tax at all. That’s almost one quarter of the corporations in question.

I thought that after the interstate bridge in Minnesota collapsed in 2007, killing 13 and leaving a school bus with 63 children precariously perched on a guardrail that perhaps infrastructure would get the closer look that it deserves.

Similarly, the replacement of the Brent Spence bridge in Cincinnati has been debated since I was a student at the University of Cincinnati over 20 years ago. Similarly, a debate over the replacement of the Alaskan Way Viaduct in Seattle, which was damaged in the 2001 Nisqually earthquake, went on for over a decade, and the replacement tunnel was finally opened in March of 2018.

Sadly, arguments regarding spending and infrastructure seem to be bogged down in partisan talking points rather than an objective assessment of the facts. The reality is that if we ensure that corporations do pay a fair share of taxes that money can, and should be, allotted to the wear and tear upon infrastructure that those corporations employ to create profits. It would also go a long way toward defraying federal deficits and debt.

Brian Barnett

Glendale, Mass.

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